Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0012

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the creatures pursuing her are her answer. She has no other choice but to push her already exhausted body onward to the city on the hill.

Surely they will tire, she tells herself, a sharp pain in her side like a knife between her ribs from the effort making it difficult to breathe, and the walled city growing ever so slowly nearer. Surely they will give up the chase.

Alas the monsters were not so accommodating.

However, in a stroke of good fortune, the woman does not need them to be, after all. For, just as she feels her legs


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0011

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their own volition, as if her body is possessed by a power that is at once both foreign and familiar. It is… strangely exhilarating.

Eventually, the wild terrain gives way to tamed, yet unkempt farmland. A dirt path forms, a welcome relief to the woman’s aching feet after the undergrowth, and here and there barns and cottages dot the landscape. Yet, as she draws nearer, she realizes the houses are not the first taste of civilization she’d hoped for. All of them, to a one, are rundown — abandoned.

What happened here? The woman wonders desperately.

The baying and snarling of


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0010

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as she passes.

The hot panting breath of the monster on her heels steadily fades. A scream of frustration echoes through the trees.

But she is leaving it behind. Slowly, the nigh on suffocating foliage begins to thin, and, a few strides later, she bursts through the thicket into bright sunshine and open space. In the distance lies a walled city on a hill, and her salvation.

A deranged howl behind her alerts the woman to several more of the beasts’ kin joining the hunt alongside it. She does not slow — she cannot. Her legs seem to be moving of


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0009

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this gods forsaken forest, this is the end.

No.

In that moment, it is the only word she knows. Whether it is her own determination, or that of the disembodied presence hovering at the back of her consciousness, it saves her — at least for the moment. A surge of energy courses through her, and suddenly she is running like the wind, until her eyes are streaming from the air rushing past her. The dense vegetation of the forest no longer feels like it is grabbing at her hair and clothes, but now seems to be bending out of the way


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0008

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her empty mind could have possibly conceived.

The beast cannot possibly be of this world, she knows at once. It might be called a canine, as it pursues her on four long limbs bent at unnatural angles and is possessed of a slavering snout full of massive, serrated teeth. It has no fur, however, only a bloated black body that is sloughing off putrid, dark colored slime as it moves through the brush.

When it sees the woman looking, it laughs at her.

This is the end her life, she knows then. Whatever might have come before she awoke in


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0007

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all she knows, she could be headed right for the creature’s lair.

The realization strains her already flagging stamina. Her legs aching from the effort, her lungs burning for want of air, her mind lost and confused in more ways than one, the woman starts to slow.

As if sensing her weakness, the monster pursuing her lets out a roar of triumph. The woman does not need to look over her shoulder to know it has put on a burst of speed for this last leg of the pursuit… but she does anyway. What she sees is more horrifying than


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0006

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immodesty of her attire: a thin, white chemise. How she came to be in this forest in such a state of undress is beyond her comprehension, and she has not the concentration to spare to give the matter much thought. The monstrosity behind her is closing the already narrow gap between them as it crashes through the brush as easily as if the jungle was little more than mist.

It occurs to her with a jolt that she has no idea where she is going. The forest is so dense, she cannot tell in which direction safety might lie. For


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0005

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to push herself to her feet. As her weight shifts, a twig snaps beneath her heel, breaking into pieces the once peaceful quiet. And that is all it takes.

The growl thrumming in her chest becomes a terrible roar as something massive comes crashing through the trees toward her. The time for indecision spent, she at lasts heeds the unseen voice in her head. She runs.

Sharp, stinging pains in her soles as she weaves through the undergrowth is what alerts her to her unshod feet; meanwhile low-hanging tree branches scratching at her bare arms and thighs make plain the


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 004

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of something dreadful… and it’s drawing steadily closer.

At last summoning her strength, the woman pushes herself upright and takes better stock of her surroundings. The forest around her is dense, but there is plenty of light filtering down through the canopy, casting a warm, mottled glow throughout the grove. She guesses the sun overhead is probably at its zenith, but apart from that paltry clue she has no information. Where she is, and where she should go next, remain as much a mystery as her own identity.

To her left is a smashed tree stump and she uses it


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The Ballad of Mercy May; 0003

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Nor can she recall where she came from, how old she might be, or even her own name. Her memory is as still as the grove around her.

But neither remain that way for long.

Something is tickling at the edge of the woman’s perception, like a low hum that she feels more than hears. The vibrations are almost comforting in their own way, and for several moments the woman is content to lay amongst the leaves and listen to them intensify. Yet, as the sound sharpens and becomes clear, she realizes what she is hearing: the deep, guttural growls


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